Many people never become idolaters because they believe the process would be too difficult. But I have good news for you. I have come up with an easy to follow plan that will make you an idolater in just five steps.
1. Locate all the places in the Bible where God says things or does things that you don’t particularly like. I’m talking here about places where either you or someone you know might be prone to say, “My God wouldn’t act like that,” or “The God I serve couldn’t possibly have said anything like that,” or “The God described in this passage just wouldn’t resonate with people today,” or “I couldn’t worship a God like that.”
2. Take a pen and underline all those passages, and put an asterisk out in the margin as well. If one of the things you don’t like about God is that he gets angry, or that he either engages in violence or tells people to carry out violent actions (like in Joshua); or if you are not all that enamored with the places where God gives commands, or rules, or laws, or regulations, then you might want to have a couple of spare pens available in case the first one runs out of ink. Just to prepare you a bit, let me go ahead and tell you now that there are a few books where you’ll be doing quite a lot of underlining: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Thessalonians, Hebrews, Peter, Jude, and Revelation.
3. Get yourself one of those blank journal-type books and make a list of all the things that you wish the Bible had said about God. Here is a list of fairly popular ones, just to get you started:
God always acts like a gentleman.
God is love, and nothing but love.
God gives me the warm fuzzies.
God is my buddy.
God never requires you to do anything you don’t want to do.
God believes in us.
God is like a really nice grandfather raised to an exponent of a hundred.
God rocks; and he’s way too cool to ever really get angry.
God always forgives; that’s what he’s there for.
God doesn’t expect me to be concerned about pleasing him.
God never refuses to hear our prayers.
God’s main concern is my happiness and prosperity.
God’s main message for us is: “You’re all going to be fine.”
God is just like Jesus, and Jesus looks just like Fabio.
Keep in mind, this is just a starter list. The possibilities are endless. Anything you’d like God to be—just put it down.
3. Assign a number to each one these items. Then go back to all the places in the Bible where you put an asterisk beside a verse or passage, and put one of the numbers there beside the asterisk. You can do this by simply picking a number at random, or you can do the numbers consecutively. If you really want to get sophisticated with it, put a number beside the asterisk which actually deals with your objection to how God is described in the particular passage. For example, you’ll probably have underlined and asterisked the place in Isaiah where God says, “When you spread out your hand in prayers, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen.” Beside the asterisk for this passage you would want to put the number you assigned in your list to the statement, “God never refuses to hear our prayers.”
4. When you have finally completed this task, then, the next time you decide to read through Bible, when you come to one of those passages you don’t like, then simply note the number you’ve put by the asterisk in the margin, look up that number in your journal-type book, and read that statement instead of the Bible passage.
5. Upon completion of this process, you will have designed your own god. Congratulations! You are now a full-fledged idolater. Now, when feelings of worship come over you, you can simply consult the non-underlined, non-asterisked passages of your Bible, or the list in your journal-type book, or both, and read as much or as little as you like in preparation for your time of devotion and adoration.
As easy as these five steps are, you may still find this to be too cumbersome a process. So, here’s an alternative shortcut method. Simply disregard the Bible entirely. Get two large posters picturing a church stained glass scene, and put them up on either side of your bathroom mirror. Put candles in front of the posters and the mirror, and have some matches available. Then, the next time a feeling of worship comes over you, just go to the bathroom, light the candles, and look in the mirror. Worship and adore.
June 17, 2014